"Let Them Eat Shrimp" With The Dining & Libation Society

by JENNIFER WRIGHT · March 12, 2009

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Famine is the new black. Or at least that’s what I’ve gotten out of every recent social event where they seemingly no longer serve food. Now, we’re in a recession. I’m not asking for canapés. All I want are some cheese cubes, and maybe a single piece of fruit for guests to fight over like wild animals. Not everyone agrees of course; I heard one socialite note that it was a really good trend because it would keep us all “so, so skinny”. She probably said more about it, but I didn’t hear, because I had to go to the ladies’ room to scarf down the beef jerky I’d hidden in my cocktail purse.

So what I’m trying to say is, bless you, Dining and Libation Society. Bless you for letting me have solids. And - oh wait - scrumptious solids at that. The Time Out New York-sponsored event featured samples from George Mendes like seared shrimp and bacalao with coconut foam. There were also Batatas Fritas (which appear to be exceptionally well spiced potato chips). To insure that your soul as well as your belly was filled, drinks were prepared by Johnny Iuzzini and Dave Arnold. The pair noted that they brewed the alcohol for some of the drinks themselves – like making moonshine - and used dry ice to aid in the preparation. This is great for everyone who likes their drinks served with a garnish called “illicit danger.”

The drinks boasted old fashioned names like Admiral Warrender (of the Royal Navy during WWI) and Sgt. Fruity Peppercorn (who, if he existed, would doubtless have had a difficult time in the army). Little wonder, as the event was held at 643 Broadway, which resident mixologists Lynette Marrero and Jim Kearns informed me is not to be called “Woodson and Ford” until they secure funding and open it to the public. Rounding up the traditional caliber of members once the speakeasy opens may well be a struggle, as the space once counted Mark Twain and Walt Whitman among its regulars. But then it became a brothel, so perhaps not. Still, it’s amusing to think that when Mark Twain noted that “fortune knocks at every man’s door once in a lifetime, however in many cases the man is at a neighboring saloon and does not hear her” he might have been thinking of the saloon at 643 Broadway. But then, if the Sgt. Fruity Peppercorn is being served with bacalao (rather than hidden beef jerky) what more good fortune could anyone ask for?